Where Should I Start?

The Riggs Institute's Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking is a systematic, coherent curriculum in which students develop essential thinking and processing skills while mastering the basics of reading and writing. It's a brain-based learning program in which knowledge is added to knowledge and skill is built on skill, so you will want to begin at the beginning, regardless of the age of your students. However, as you help your students practice each lesson until it's been mastered, you'll adjust the pace of your instruction to meet the needs of your students.

In general, if you are teaching kindergarten you will begin at Lesson 1 and teach about one lesson every two days. If you are teaching first or second grade, you will begin at Lesson 1 and teach about one lesson per day. If your students are older, follow McCulloch’s advice on pages 91-93 in the Level 1 text, beginning at Lesson 1 and teaching as many lessons per day as possible so that you can quickly teach the first 40 or so phonograms and begin your Spelling-Vocabulary List.

  • Kindergarten = ½ lesson per day
  • Grades 1 & 2 = 1 lesson per day
  • Grades 3 & up = As many lessons per day as possible

As long as your older students are proceeding systematically, building skill upon skill and mastering content knowledge, you can--and should--keep them moving. Go through the lessons as quickly as possible, but don’t go more quickly than possible: these skills must be mastered sequentially, and none of them can be skipped. Review your Skills and Performance Checklists often to make sure you are covering all of the information at an accelerated pace.

If you are teaching older students who have mastered the phonograms, refer to McCulloch's advice (see pages 91-93 in Level I) and include more challenging words from across the curriculum (or from Levels II and III) as you teach the skills and concepts in Level I. As soon as possible, move into Level II concepts.

As you become more comfortable with this language arts program, one of the things you'll begin to notice is its adaptability. This is a bit part of what makes Riggs such a powerful program for students of all ages. For example, this is a classical writing program in which students do a lot of work, but it's also a program in which teachers are usually free to choose the writing subject each day (beginning with written sentences in the seventh week, for grade one). This is wonderful news. By individualizing the Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking's practice exercises to meet the needs of your actual class--having your students practice new skills and concepts across the curriculum--you'll be able to help them master the basics as quickly as possible, and you’ll be able to keep them interested and engaged as they work toward proficiency. Everyone starts with Level I, and everyone is kept on the edge of challenge.

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